Most people don’t get the opportunity to create their dream job and become successful twice in a lifetime, Bob Becker is about to do just that.
Becker created Fearless Records back in the early ‘90s and signed incredible bands like The Aquabats, Straight Faced, Bigwig, and Dynamite Boy, and sell records out of the trunk of his car at shows. Fearless released the Plain White Ts landmark album “All That We Needed” with the massive hit “Hey There Delilah,” and more recently music duo, I Don’t Know But They Found Me, who had the number one alternative track, “Leave Me Alone.” Becker has also had a hand in signing Mayday Parade, The Maine, Motionless In White, Breathe Carolina, I Prevail, The Word Alive, and Pierce The Veil. With Becker’s tenacity and incredible skills and an idea of always putting artists first, he became a very successful record label owner. So successful that Fearless Records piqued the interest of Concord Records.
In 2015, Concord purchased Fearless but kept Becker on as Chairman Emeritus (an honorary position for a distinguished person in their field that can still be turned to for official guidance), and he remained involved with signings, including the signing of The Offspring.
After several years as a chairman, Becker wants to return to the music industry in full swing, doing what he does best: finding great bands to sign and help propel them to greatness. With Becker’s experience, industry knowledge, and ear for music, Thriller Records went from concept to reality. The Thriller Records launch announcement states the label will be “centered around artist-friendly deals, long-term development and creating the rising stars of tomorrow. With a broad range of artists from a widely diverse spectrum of genres and backgrounds, Becker’s passion for discovering and nurturing new talent is stronger than ever.”
The new label is adroitly named, and poised to make a splash. Thriller Records will bring different genres of music to the forefront of various industries. Since he’s calling the shots, Becker isn’t pigeonholing the label to one sound; if he likes it, he will sign it.
We recently spoke with Becker and he explained how Thriller came to be and who is up next on the Thriller roster. Becker wasn’t able to share everything in detail, but he was able to tell us more than enough to tantalize our musical taste buds, leaving us wanting more “thrills.”
Fortunately, being a massive record company is not required these days given the way we listen to music is different now compared to a decade ago. Becker says that the resources he was able to use with the larger company have changed with streaming and the way music is consumed, so the playing field is level. “The bigger company’s recourses don’t really mean anything anymore; I can do everything myself now.”
Becker is joined by his former Fearless partner John Perenchio, former Fearless President/Chief Marketing Officer Jenny Reader, and as Thriller Records Label Manager, Nick Moore, who previously founded InVogue Records. In addition to that amazing team, Thriller Records has signed an exclusive global distribution agreement with ADA Music Worldwide.
As for the name, Thriller wasn’t inspired by a certain multi-platinum record artist, but just like the name for Fearless, it describes Becker and what the label will be all about.
The first band on the Thriller Records roster was Seattle rock band, AVOID. Becker told another publication, “AVOID represents our ‘this is who we are’ attitude.” We asked him to specify what he meant by that and he told us, “I love their attitude, they wear it all out there. I grew up in the first era of punk rock. I still have that angst so I don’t mind going against the grain and I love being different. I love taking chances and I want to see our label like that, I don’t want to be restricted. If I want to sign something regardless of the style, I’m going to sign it – no restraints.”
Listen up bands; Becker says there are a lot of factors that go into signing their acts. It’s not always a song submission through their website; they have signed artists who sent stuff in, but they have also received band suggestions from music managers, booking agents, and other artists. You never know who will be the next person to help get your foot in the door.
Becker loves finding acts “under a rock” and looks at all the pros and cons of possibly signing that band. He looks at different aspects; maybe they aren’t there sound-wise, but the band is hard-working with great attitudes; sometimes it’s a super-talented band, but they need to be pushed in other areas like work ethic. He says, “You’re not just going to get the perfect package with a band that has everything going. There’s always going to be things that need work and that’s why they’re ‘developing artists’ and that’s why we are a label that is good with that because we’re willing to be patient to help them in these areas. We have the experience to know what things they need to be able to put the complete package together and hopefully we can help them do that. But it’s about the music first, we have to feel that the music has something and it starts with that.”
Due to the label’s release schedule Becker was unable to give us additional specifics on the newest six names to grace the Thriller Records roster. However, he was able to say that one of the new artists is a rock band with a lead singer that was in the final two on a very popular singing competition television show. Another is a female alt/rock/pop punk artist, and he also shared that they signed a straight-up punk band. He says it’s a balanced roster that will show they are diverse, but these artists could all play the same festival.
Since Becker is the brains behind the mega popular “Punk Goes…” compilation albums (all 17 of them!) that sold millions of copies, we asked if he was going to put out compilation albums with Thriller Records; his answer was, “Of course!”
The original Fearless Records started in Orange County and became one of the biggest OC labels, but as time moved on and those smaller labels started to die, Becker moved Fearless to Los Angeles. Now Becker is back in OC with Thriller and he says he’s happy to be home and doesn’t ever plan on leaving OC: “Damn, I’m excited to be back in the OC, and being able to create my own staff and make my own decisions with artists and marketing!”
We couldn’t be more excited about the amazing acts Thriller Records will be bringing us. Their compilation albums with snazzy titles, and more! Becker and the Thriller Records team are working very hard and doing great things for our music industry. Music fans are forever grateful to witness history in the making again. Buckle up, because Thriller Records is here!
Thriller Records Mission | “To discover and develop not just good, but GREAT music, with our artists and their fans firmly at our core.”